Henry Smith MP has welcomed proposals that will see the number of children entitled to free school meals increase.
“Under new Government welfare plans around 50,000 more children nationally will receive a free school meal, compared to the previous benefits system. This policy will protect every child receiving free school meals when it is introduced and every child who gains eligibility before the end of Universal Credit’s roll-out.”
Transitional protections are proposed so that nobody currently receiving free school meals will lose their entitlement when moving onto Universal Credit.
Children who become eligible under the new threshold after 1st April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the rollout of Universal Credit even if their circumstances change.
There are anomalies and disincentives in the current system, where free school meals entitlement is based on how many hours you work, rather than how much you earn.
Henry went on to comment;
“By moving to earnings-based criteria, free school meals are being targeted towards the families that need them most. The introduction of Universal Credit transforms the benefit system by making work pay. It removes the major cliff edges in the legacy system such as the 16 hour rule, which means that families can keep more of what they earn.”